On November 15, 2012 (King’s Day in Belgium), the best specialty beer-centric bars, restaurants, and stores across the nation (and beyond) will be joining in a Coast to Coast Toast to celebrate Vanberg & DeWulf’s birthday and the great state of craft and specialty beer culture in the US of A.
Now, before we talk about the super party, first I want to tell you more about Vanberg & DeWulf and why they are so near and dear to my heart. Established in 1982, Vanberg & DeWulf is the leading pioneer of the Belgian beer import market in the U.S. as we know it. Founded by the husband and wife super team, Don Feinburg and Wendy Littlefield, Vanberg & DeWulf introduced the American beer market to, what are now considered, world-renowned Belgian beers such as Duvel, Rodenbach, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Affligem abbey beers, Frank Boon’s lambics (gueuze, kriek, framboise, faro and Mariage Parfait), and Blanche de Bruges wit beer. No small feat, mind you.
But, it doesn’t stop there folks. In 1996, Don & Wendy established Brewery Ommegang — the first craft brewery in the U.S. to brew all bottle-conditioned, cork-finished Belgian beers. It was also the first farmstead brewery built in America in nearly a century. They eventually sold off their shares of the brewery to its current owner, Duvel.
And if that resume isn’t impressive enough, the dynamic duo championed pairing beer at renowned restaurants and culinary schools around the country, including The Culinary Institute of America, Cornell Hotel School, The French Culinary Institute, The James Beard Foundation, and Kendall College in Chicago. They were also the first Americans ever inducted into the Belgian Brewers Guild. And, they are HUGE advocates and leaders of the beer cocktail movement — something very important to me.
And none of the individual accomplishments and accolades that both Wendy and Don have racked up over the years. As a fellow woman in the business, I cannot help but be enamored and awed by Wendy. She truly is the definition of a pioneer woman in craft beer. Meeting Don and Wendy in 2009 was most definitely a pinnacle moment in my life as a beer blogger and craft beer enthusiast. They helped inspire me to pursue a life and a career in craft beer, something for which I am eternally grateful.
And this brings us to why I am honored and excited to be a part of this year’s Coast to Coast Toast in honor of Vanberg & Dewulf’s 31st birthday! There will be parties from San Francisco to Philadelphia, Brussels to Milan, and even Lille (FR) to Walberswick (UK).
One of the special themes of the Second Annual Coast to Coast Toast (the C2CT2 for short) is to focus on the contributions that women are making to the world of craft beer. Vanberg & DeWulf has partnered with women they adore and admire who own or operate some of the best specialty beer spots in the nation for some original and spectacular events. These include:
- Noted beer writer and chef, Lucy Saunders is partnering with Adrienne Pierlussi at her magnificent Palm Tavern in Milwaukee. Ladylike pours of Vanberg & DeWulf classics will be on offer.
- In Portland, Beer Goddess Lisa Morrison is in on a hugely fun and very beery progressive beer dinner that links Caps ‘n Corks, Belmont Station (featuring beer floats), and Hilda’s Bazi Bistro through one great little beer bus!
- Ashley Routson, a.k.a. The Beer Wench, will be celebrating at punk rock bastion Beer Revolution with Rebecca Boyles (co-owner) and Nicole Erny (master cicerone). Many awesome Vanberg & DeWulf beers will be on offer. This great NYTimes piece on Beer Revolution and a handful of other great west coast bars – all of which as a matter of fact are hosts of the Coast to Coast Toast
- Polly Watt owns the legendary Avenue Pub in New Orleans, LA. It remains open 24 hours a day year round. We are delighted that she is devoting the night of the Coast to Coast Toast to the beers of Castelain and Dilewyns, owned respectively by female brewers Annick Castelain and Anne Catherine Dilewyns
- For Sarah Hanson at Five Horses Tavern in Somerville, MA, it’s all about personal preference. She is pouring her favorites from the Vanberg & DeWulf collection, including Vicaris Tripel Gueuze, Lambrucha, and Saison Dupont on tap.
- Having braved the storm, Anne Becerra at Gingerman in NYC is running a giagantic tap takeover with some 30 of our beers. It is also the spot where members of the Belgian community in NY will gather.*
- Peggy at Lucky Baldwin’s in CA
- Katherine at Blind Tiger in NYC
- Lydia of Marion Street Market in Oak Park, IL
- Amber at The J. Clyde in Birmingham, AL
- Laura at the Map Room in Chicago
- Christy, the dynamo behind Leopold in Chicago
- The fabulous women reps in our network: Lauren, Mishi, Maury, Erin, Heather, Paula, and Terry, to name but a few.
Looking for a Coast to Coast event near you? You can chat Wendy up on twitter (@belgianexpert). And, don’t forget to use the #C2CT hashtag in all of your tweets!